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The Enigma of Capital: David Harvey On "The Politics of Austerity"

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David Harvey, Distinguished Professor of Antrhoplogy at CUNY, is an influential social theorist who writes frequently about capital and global capitalism and how it impacts society as a whole. His most recent book is "The Enigma of Capital and the Crises of Capitalism."

This is a provocative half-hour interview with Matthew Rothschild of The Progressive. Whether you agree with Harvey or not, the ideas he raises illustrate what is at stake for capitalism as the crisis shifts from banks to the public at large:

"The big focus of the crisis here is unemployment. And in effect, what we're beginning to see is the way in which political power is using the crisis to try to create a different kind of universe, mainly through politics of austerity. In other words, what we've done is we've shifted from a financial crisis of the banks to saying there's a financial crisis of state expenditures, and the only way to resolve that is you people have to give away on your services and everything else. So they're trying to shift the crisis onto the mass of the population, which by the way they've been doing for a very long time now. Back in the 1980s that's what they did in Mexico."

To properly frame this, consider the fact that the sentiments expressed above are uniform on both sides of the debate; the capitalists bemoan the socialistic policies of government that seeks to shift private losses onto the public, while progressives, socialists, whatever label you choose, bemoan the modern capitalistic policies of government (see what happened there?), as those policies are practiced, which seek to shift private losses onto the public. It is a perfect storm of agreement from angles which look, at first glance, diametrically opposed. One of these two parties sitting at this table is a sucker. But which one? I believe it's the latter.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.